The problem we face.
OUR EMISSIONS THREATEN LIFE ON EARTH
So much in our everyday lives depends on the burning of fossil fuels: driving, heating and cooling, powering machinery, manufacturing products, and more. Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, is a greenhouse gas that causes climate change. Another one is methane which comes from cattle and other livestock and from landfills, among other sources. Since both methane and carbon dioxide contain carbon, we hear about “decarbonization,” “low carbon economy,” or “zero carbon footprint,” all referring to reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions to halt climate change. SL 2050 envisions San Leandro to be a zero-carbon city by 2050.
Greenhouse gas emissions
in San Leandro.
The most recent inventory of greenhouse gas emissions in San Leandro was done in 2017 and show as total of 573,300 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. The biggest contributors are transportation and energy use in buildings.
Source: City of San Leandro Office of Sustainability
What climate threats does
San Leandro face?
According to the 2017 San Leandro Climate Hazard Assessment, the city is at high risk of sea-level rise, flooding, wildfires and extreme heat days, among others. These hazards have subsequent negative effects, for example, if wildfires damage electrical lines, power outages will disrupt transportation and affect industrial centers, hurting the local economy.
Large sections of San Leandro is at risk of permanent or temporary flooding from sea-level rise. Neighborhoods and infrastructure along the shoreline are particularly vulnerable, including the wastewater treatment plant. Damage to the plant could cause sewer backups throughout San Leandro.
The Bay Area is expected to see a 34% increase in the areas burned by wildfire each year. San Leandro borders a very high fire severity zone to the east, putting the city at particularly high risk.
The number of extreme heat days (with a temperature above 89 degrees) is expected to go from 4 to over 20 per year.
City of San Leandro: Office of Sustainability
Disadvantaged & low-income
communities will bear the brunt.
The negative consequences of climate change will hit those the hardest who are less wealthy and already disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards like poor air quality from traffic and industrial pollution. For example, neighborhoods along freeways like 880 already have higher asthma rates due to diesel exhaust and other emissions and are especially vulnerable to the health risks posed by wildfire smoke. On extreme heat days, poorer residents tend to not have air conditioning and are often forced to work outside. Those neighborhoods also tend to have fewer street trees and open space to help cool the air and absorb emissions.
CalEnviroScreen, a mapping tool developed by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, helps identify California communities that are most affected by many sources of pollution, and where people are often especially vulnerable to pollution's effects. The findings make it clear that San Leandro, like so many other communities, share the burden of climate hazards unequally. San Leandro 2050 is committed to working first and foremost to support those neighborhoods in our city to improve current environmental conditions and prepare for future impacts.